Sound of The South

At 7

A gun explodes and kills

nothing , the hunter missed. The bullet

falls on the other side

of the lake by my feet

it’s broken and flared. My voice –


‘Is this an arrow head?’

Dad looks across the lake

‘Is it from the civil war?’

Dad takes it from my hand

‘Can we shoot them?’


“Who?”, he asks.

‘The bullets’


At 12

I light the wick of the fire

work with my hands

watch it burn north


The 4th explodes over the lake

I’m in its red, white & blue

When they ooo, when they aaa

It’s for me


At 16

On Sunday it’s loud

the lake sound

because they don’t shoot

On Sunday


At 17

The other boy loaded the truck with an automatic, two pistols, and a shotgun he’d bought at walmart supercenter and waited for the next day when he’d drive to school after his friend called in a bomb threat. Riverbend High School would be outside waiting.

He posted on twitter, Judgement Day. The court gave him 20.

Next bomb threat I waited for the road to explode, not the school.


At 18

Dad went out over the lake to die

With a rifle | Siren song

(in)to his head


It was a toy

Not because it was a toy

But because he played with his life


At 21

North is up and south is down when you’re young and haven’t been told otherwise.

Bullets go up and they come down at your feet, but never norther.

I go up with the fireworks, they never come down, they become the sky.

The sound of the sky is the sound of God; he says, don’t shoot on my day and they hear him over the fire 

I had to leave Virginia after the near shooting because I couldn’t look away from the road. That’s not true; it’s just that fireworks didn’t look anymore they only sounded and sound is never still.

Wasn’t I supposed to learn that toys can kill people?

West is left and south is wrong when you’re older and have been told otherwise.

I go up and I never come down because there’s a child on the other side of the lake.


The above is a collection of poems meant to explore my own relationship with the cultures I’ve grown up and been exposed to. I’m working through my experience with southern gun culture, the prevalence of gun violence in my life (or near violence!), and how, living in a more liberal part of California, that culture exists in a state of conflict. It’s a look at the things that make us who we are; the good and the bad that crafts us. Can we escape where we came from? Should we? Can we love the parts of our history that have also harmed us?

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